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The Second World War and the Baltic States


James S. Corum, Olaf Mertelsmann and Kaarel Piirimäe

This volume places the history of the Second World War and the Baltic states into a multidisciplinary and international perspective. It includes contributions from the fields of diplomacy, strategy, military operations, intelligence and propaganda. It presents not only a multi-layered interpretation of a region affected by total war, but also reveals a great deal about the nature of that conflict. It discusses the attitudes of the great powers towards small states, the nature of military operations around the advent of mechanization and close air support, and techniques of population control and of steering opinion in the era of ideological regimes. Contributions on these topics add to our understanding of the Second World War as a pivotal event in the history of Europe in the 20th century.
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Belgian Diplomacy in Exile and the Baltic states 1940–45


Thierry Grosbois

Belgian historiography has yet to show any interest in the history of Belgium’s relations with the Baltic countries between 1920 and 1960. When this history is approached, it is done only very marginally through Belgo–Soviet relations, which have already been dealt with in detail for this period.1 This chapter is thus the first study of Belgian–Baltic relations based on unpublished archives that have proved to be rich and significant. Similarly, one may note that the published volumes of Belgian diplomatic documents for the years between 1939 and 1945 do not include any documents relating to the Baltic problem.2 There are very few explicit allusions to the Baltic countries in the memoirs of Belgians who played a role in shaping the country’s foreign policy during this period.

The story of the Belgian diplomacy is mainly based on the examination of the diplomatic reports of the Belgian legations and consulates located in Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. Following the events of 1940 and 1941, the Belgian diplomats stationed in the Baltic countries, having taken refuge in Helsinki and Stockholm, were direct witnesses of the events affecting the Baltic states, and regularly reported such events to the Belgian government in exile in London until September 1944. The Belgian Embassies in Washington, London and Moscow also collected information on the Baltic situation, but to a lesser extent.

Beginning in 1920, the Belgian Foreign Ministry maintained a legation in Riga (Latvia) and a...

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